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  • 11/29/2003


Tajikistan has experienced three changes in government and a five-year civil war since it gained independence in 1991 from theUSSR. A peace agreement among rival factions was signed in 1997, and implemented in 2000. The central government's less than total control over some areas of the country has forced it to compromise and forge alliances among factions. Attention by the international community in the wake of the war in Afghanistan has brought increased economic development assistance, which could create jobs and increase stability in the long term.Tajikistan is in the early stages of seeking World Trade Organization membership and has joined NATO's Partnership for Peace.


Location Central Asia, west of China

Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 71 00 E

Area: total: 143,100 sq km
water: 400 sq km
land: 142,700 sq km

Climate: midlatitude continental, hot summers, mild winters; semiarid to polar in Pamir Mountains

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)


Population: 6,863,752 (July 2003 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.13% (2003 est.)

Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2003 est.)

noun: Tajikistani(s)
adjective: Tajikistani

Ethnic groups: Tajik 64.9%, Uzbek 25%, Russian 3.5% (declining because of emigration), other 6.6%

Languages: Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business


Tajikistan has the lowest per capita GDP among the 15 former Soviet republics. Cotton is the most important crop. Mineral resources, varied but limited in amount, include silver, gold, uranium, and tungsten. Industry consists only of a large aluminum plant, hydropower facilities, and small obsolete factories mostly in light industry and food processing. The civil war (1992-97) severely damaged the already weak economic infrastructure and caused a sharp decline in industrial and agricultural production. Even though 60% of its people continue to live in abject poverty, Tajikistan has experienced steady economic growth since 1997. Continued privatization of medium and large state-owned enterprises will further increase productivity. Tajikistan's economic situation, however, remains fragile due to uneven implementation of structural reforms, weak governance, and the external debt burden. A debt restructuring agreement was reached withRussia in December 2002, including an interest rate of 4%, a 3-year grace period, and a US $49.8 million credit to the Central Bank of Tajikistan.

Industries: aluminum, zinc, lead, chemicals and fertilizers, cement, vegetable oil, metal-cutting machine tools, refrigerators and freezers

Agriculture products: cotton, grain, fruits, grapes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, goats


Telephones main lines in use: 363,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 2,500 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 13 (2001)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 4 (2002)

Internet users: 5,000 (2002)


Railways: total: 482 km
broad gauge: 482 km 1.520-m gauge (2002)

Highways: total: 29,900 km
paved: 21,400 km (includes some all-weather gravel-surfaced roads)
unpaved: 8,500 km (these roads are made of unstabilized earth and are difficult to negotiate in wet weather) (1990)

Waterways: none

Airports: 66 (2002)


Conventional long form: Republic of Tajikistan
Conventional short form: Tajikistan
local short form: Tojikiston
local long form: Jumhurii Tojikiston
Government type: republic

Capital: Dushanbe

Administrative divisions:2 provinces (viloyatho, singular - viloyat) and 1 autonomous province* (viloyati mukhtor); Viloyati Mukhtori Kuhistoni Badakhshon* (Khorugh), Viloyati Khatlon (Qurghonteppa), Viloyati Sughd (Khujand)
note: the administrative center name follows in parentheses

Independence: 9 September 1991 (from Soviet Union)

Constitution: 6 November 1994

Legal system:based on civil law system; no judicial review of legislative acts

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Emomali RAHMONOV (since 6 November 1994; head of state and Supreme Assembly chairman since 19 November 1992)
head of government: Prime Minister Oqil OQILOV (since 20 January 1999)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president, approved by the Supreme Assembly
election results: Emomali RAHMONOV elected president; percent of vote - Emomali RAHMONOV 97%, Davlat USMON 2%
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 6 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2006); prime minister appointed by the president; Tajikistan held a constitutional referendum on 22 June 2003 that, among other things, set a term limit of two seven-year terms for the president

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the president)

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party or DPT [Mahmadruzi ISKANDAROV, chairman]; Islamic Revival Party [Said Abdullo NURI, chairman]; People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan or PDPT [Emomali RAHMONOV]; Social Democratic Party or SDPT [Rahmatullo ZOIROV]; Socialist Party or SPT [Sherali KENJAYEV]; Tajik Communist Party or CPT [Shodi SHABDOLOV]


Sunni Muslim 85%, Shi'a Muslim 5%


Tajik ancestry is a murky area but the lineage seems to begin with the Bactrians and the Sogdians. In the 1st century BC the Bactrians had a large empire covering most of what is now northernAfghanistan, while their contemporaries, the Sogdians, inhabited the Zeravshan valley in present-day western Tajikistan, until displaced by the Arab conquest of Central Asia during the 7th century. The invaders succeeded in bringing Islam to the region, but the Arab domination wasn't secure and out of the melee rose another Persian dynasty, the Samanids. The brief era of the Samanids (819-992) gave rise to a frenzy of creative activity. Bukhara, the dynastic capital, became the Islamic world's centre of learning, nurturing great talents like the philosopher-scientist Abu Ali ibn Sina and the poet Rudaki - both now claimed as sons byIran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

At the end of the 10th century came a succession of Turkic invaders. Despite the different ethnicities, the two races cohabited peacefully, unified by religion - the Persian-speaking Tajiks absorbed Turk culture and the numerically superior Turks absorbed the Tajik people. Both were subject to conquests by the Mongols then later by Tamerlaine. From the 15th century the Tajiks were under the suzerainty of the emirate of Bukhara; in the mid-18th century the Afghans moved up to engulf all lands south of the Amu Darya River.

As part of the Russian Empire's thrust southwards, St Petersburg made a vassal state of the emirate of Bukhara, which also meant effective control over what now passes for northern and western Tajikistan. But the Pamirs, which account for the whole of what is now eastern Tajikistan, were quite literally a no-man's-land, falling outside the established borders of the Bukhara emirate and unclaimed by neighbouringAfghanistan and China. Russia was eager to exploit this mainly in its push to open up possible routes into British India. The Pamirs thus became the arena for the strategic duel that Kipling was to immortalize as the Great Game, a game in whichRussia's players eventually prevailed, securing the region for the tsar.

Following the revolution of 1917, the Tajiks found themselves part of twoSoviet Socialist Republics (SSRs). Muslim guerillas resisted Bolshevik rule for four dirty years in which villages were razed and mosques destroyed. The first ever official Tajik state was formed in 1924 when the Soviet Border Commission slapped lines across Central Asia and formed an Automomous SSR under the auspices of the Uzbek SSR. In 1929 the Tajik state was upgraded to a full union republic, althoughSamarkand and Bukhara - where over 700,000 Tajiks still lived - remained in Uzbekistan. Moscow never really trusted Tajikistan: influential positions in the government were stacked with Russian stooges, efforts to industrialise and educate were sluggish, and living standards remained low.

In the mid-1970s the underground Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) was founded, gathering popular support as a rallying point for Tajik nationalism. Although in 1979 there were demonstrations in opposition to the Soviet invasion ofAfghanistan, the first serious disturbances were in early 1990 when it was rumoured that Armenian refugees were to be settled inDushanbe, which was already short on housing. This piece of Soviet social engineering sparked off riots, deaths and the imposition of a state of emergency. Further opposition parties emerged as a result of the crackdown.

During the Soviet era,Moscow and the Party had been the lid on a pressure cooker of long standing clan-based tensions. Tajikistan's various factions - Leninabaders from the north, Kulyabis from the south and their hostile neighbours from Kurgan-Tyube, Garmis from the east and Parmiris from the mountains - had all been kept in line under Soviet rule. When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991 and Tajikistan declared independence, the country quickly descended into civil war. Imamali Rakhmanov, a Kulyabi, has been president since 1992 but opposition, particularly from the Islamic-democratic coalition, has been strident. The Kulyabi forces embarked on an orgy of ethnic cleansing directed at anyone connected with the Kurgan-Tyube or the Garm valley. Somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 people were killed in the fighting, and there are half a million refugees.

Although a peace agreement was signed in June 1997 between President Imomali Rakhmonov and Islamic opposition leader Sayid Abdullo Nuri, tensions are still high. Rakhmanov is propped up by Russian-dominated CIS forces, mainly becauseRussia wants to protect the border with Afghanistan. Thousands of Tajik rebels are based in northernAfghanistan and cross-border raids persist. Rakhmanov's government is unwilling to share power (opposition parties were outlawed for elections in 1994) and uninterested in reform. The president was re-elected for a second term in 1999 by a nearly unanimous vote.

Taken From: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/central_asia/tajikistan/history.htm

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